Labour leader Ed Miliband styled himself as a modern-day Robin Hood in Bedford this week, outlining plans for new property tax to take money from the rich, so that the poor can be given a lower rate of income tax.
His One Nation speech is unlikely to have made him a friend of Gordon Brown, after Miliband criticised the former prime minister for choosing to abolish the 10p rate of income tax.
That is in spite of the fact that Miliband supported that move when it was made – and the lack of any clear figures on how the new property tax, commonly referred to as a ‘mansion tax’, would work.
In principle, the move would see owners of properties worth more than £2 million pay a tax on living there, with the increase in revenues offsetting a reduction in income tax for low-earners.
“We would use the money raised by a mansion tax to reintroduce a lower 10p starting rate of tax, with the size of the band depending on the amount raised,” Miliband said.
However, the plan has already earned criticism from prime minister David Cameron for being poorly worked out, while other critics have claimed the property tax raised would allow for only a very small 10p band to be introduced – doing little to benefit many workers in real terms.